courage on display.

a few years ago i found myself at a conference in ireland with a few hundred other crazy people.  i’d just gotten home from that time i traveled the world and i didn’t have a clue what i was doing with my life.  i remember being in that room; confused, angry, heartbroken and overwhelmed all at once.  transition was happening so fast around me i felt like i was spinning.  one morning during worship the lord prompted someone to do some declarations.  one declaration in particular.  “i am a woman of courage,”  i stood on a chair and screamed.  over and over and over everyone in the room chanted.  courage.  courage.  courage.

i was laying in bed tonight thinking of that moment.  i was thinking about how i am certain i became more courageous in that space.  as i was reflecting i decided i don’t think it came from some big announcement to the world.  courage took hold inside of me because of the small act of standing on the chair and opening my mouth.  it’s in the day to day things.  it’s in the moments when we quietly choose.

lately, i’ve seen courage on display.

courage

but it hasn’t looked like giant gestures and loud proclamations.  nope.

it’s looked like telling roommates they are settling in that relationship.

it’s looked like the middle of the night text messages that say “i messed up.  again.”

it’s looked like circling yes on the survey and admitting for the first time “that happened to me.”

it’s looked like speaking up in a meeting and stepping out of your comfort zone.

it’s looked like accountability and repentance and the receiving of grace.

it’s been saying yes to that date and no to that ice cream.

it’s looked an awful lot like emails that just say “help.”

it’s looked like break ups and changing majors.

it’s certainly looked like hard conversations scattered with tears and laughs and sighs.

lately, courage on display has mostly looked like a new bunch of crazies.  a slew of incredible, beautiful, wide-eyed college women.

how blessed i am by them.

dear college me.

we put this little video together for real life campaign we’re running.  i promise it’s well worth your two minutes.  take a gander and then read what i’d say to my college self.

 

dear college me,

i know it hasn’t really been that long since you were wandering the sidewalks of good ‘ol evangel, but a lot of things have changed. things are pretty different over here. and you. well, you’re real different over here.

don’t worry so much about the future. it’ll work itself out. taking that first mission trip to jamaica will affect you forever. what you experience there will catapult you into a destiny you couldn’t dream of on your own. friendship takes work. especially when you’re on different continents. learn to fight for relationships now. you had a lot of opportunities in four years. and you took most of them. way to go, champ. forgive more. have more grace. especially with yourself. because you’ll spend a lot of time after college learning how to receive grace. real grace. the messy, scary kind that you’ve never really known before. it will be new territory for you. but you’ll learn that those people really do love you. and that jesus, he really loves you, too.

take more risks. it’s okay that you didn’t graduate with a 4.0. i promise no one will ever care. don’t try so hard to be perfect. learn how to fail and embrace your imperfections. chopping your hair off was a brilliant idea. and dying it brown on a whim after that, ehem, one situation, was a good move. way to be bold.

dear college me, you’ll travel the world. really. you will circumnavigate the whole thing over the course of eleven months. i know everyone is telling you it’s absurd to live out of a backpack for a year and that you’re not exactly the world-traveler-roughin’-it-missionary type. don’t listen to them. you’ll do just fine as a world racer, i promise.

in fact, despite all of the hard stuff you’ll walk through in those eleven months there will be something beautiful about the whole thing. something that will deeply attract you to a tribe of people in gainesville, georgia. so when you return to the states you’ll pack up your life and move south. you’ll raise your own salary to be in charge of marketing mission trips to high school and college students. you’ll spend a few months freaking out about the whole ‘being back in america’ thing. and it might take you a minute to find your place but you’ll discover that you love it down in georgia. the whole “marketing-for-jesus-behind-a-desk-among-a-group-of people-you-love” bit fits you nicely. you’re more thankful than you could have ever imagined.

dear college me, i want you to know that things are good over here. you’re good over here. there’s still work to do, but your more whole, more alive, and more happy than you could have dreamed. your life is abundant and your heart is full.

so, what would you say to your college self?

grateful. no, really.

nothing is ever good enough for me.  ever.

that is a statement that i have absolutely let define me over the years.  it’s something that was spoken over me over and over and over growing up.  ungrateful.  nothing is ever good enough.  it has shaped and molded the way i see myself, the world and most importantly, the Lord.

it wasn’t until recently that i even realized what a stronghold that lie has been.  it’s only been in the few weeks that the Lord has been revealing to me the gravity of it and the way that it has affected so many areas of my life.

tonight i was sitting in an all-too familiar training center at the aim headquarters.  listening to my dear friend give a talk i’ve heard at least a dozen times.  almost thirty leaders showed up this afternoon for a few days of training before over 200 college kids will get sent out to the nations next week. for two months they will serve the world.

as i was sitting there listening to kelly tell stories about past participants she told stories about how their lives were changed.  stories about how a man in africa woke up out of a coma because a real life team prayed for him.  she told the story of a participant who overcame an eating disorder and a drug addiction; whose life was transformed by the power and grace of God.  she told stories about how it rained in kenya when our participants prayed and massai warriors were saved as a result.  she spoke about how she believes wholeheartedly that these participants will change the course of history this summer; that lives will never be the same because they were sent out into the darkest of places with a commission to bring light.

as kelly shared more of the vision for real life i found myself about to lose it.

tears streamed down my face as we prayed for the nations, once again, from that place that has become so comfortable and familiar and yet always transitioning and changing.

because for the first time in a really long time i felt absolutely, unreservedly, filled-to-the-brim grateful.

grateful that i get to be a part of the whole thing.  grateful that i had a hand, small as it may have been, in getting over 200 college kids to the mission field.  grateful that of all of the qualified, competent people out there God chose me to partner with Him and with this ministry.  grateful that in the midst of my brokenness and my process and my junk i am surrounded by people who believe in me and who fight for me, especially when i can’t fight for myself.  grateful for the reminder of who i am and whose i am.  grateful that i don’t live under the lies that were spoken over me.  that i am not defined by what i was told or not told. but that i am defined only by what God says about me.  grateful that even though it seems minuscule i maybe might be starting to learn some things.  grateful that even if wake up tomorrow with my sassy pants on, there is grace to cover it.

i don’t know.  maybe it seems silly.  but i’m just really, truly thankful tonight.  for who God is.  for who I’m becoming and for this life i get to live.

summer [about to] happen-ings.

so, we’re about to walk into busy-town over here at aim.  all kinds of goodness is happening and tons of people are being mobilized to the mission field this summer.  it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

i feel like we’ve been talking about it for weeks, so you’d think i’d be prepared.  but, leave it to me.  procrastinate. procrastinate. procrastinate.  i was feeling okay about everything that i need to do but, all of a sudden i just became really overwhelmed by everything happening in the upcoming weeks.  and the amount of things that need to get done.

so, let’s see.  tomorrow is memorial day.  lucky for me the office is closed so i can work on tackling my inbox while simultaneously cleaning my bathroom and preparing my house for the guests that will be in and out all summer.  tuesday our real life leaders come for training camp.  [wahoo!].  friday 200 [holy moly] participants come to join them and we’ll all head to the hills of tennessee.  sunday i’ll leave camp for a wedding back in georgia and then leave right after the ‘nuptials to start a 13-hour trek to missouri to represent AIM at a conference.  we’ll be there until thursday when we’ll make our back to georgia for another two-day conference in hot-lanta.

a week of ambassador [high school] training and sending out and then i’ll head out for a marketing retreat.  right after that i go back to hot-lanta for another conference.  there is also a wedding happening that same weekend – probably need to figure those logistics out.

the last week of june is our second training camp for ambassadors and then we’ll head back out to tennessee for world race/real life immersion camp for six or seven days.

and then.  it will be the middle of july and i will take a nap.  🙂

that pretty much gets you up to speed on my schedule.  i am thrilled about all of the things happening down here and feel so blessed to be a part of it all.  if you could just keep me and the rest of the staff in your prayers that would be great.  some of them have crazier schedules than i do [throw in some international trips and eek!].

i’ll do my best to keep you posted with all the lord is doing as we mobilize over 500 young people to the mission field this summer!

mommy, wow. i’m a big girl now.

i was inspired to write a blog this morning when my friend and co-worker sara’s latest popped up in my google reader this morning.

i’m leaving in less than nineteen hours to head out to nyc for a business trip.  business trip. that sounds professional and grown up.  but, don’t worry.  we’re still on business for jesus.  and so we’ll be youth-groupin’ it in our 15 passenger van and sleeping on a church floor.  some things just might not ever change.

i’m gearing up for the 16-hour drive.  well, i’m trying to.  note to self : buy dramamine.  for everyone’s sake.

i have a lot to do before we pull out at 5 am.

. work.  there are all kinds of fun things happening in real life.  but i need to make sure they are all under control before i peace out for six days.

. pack.  oops.  probably should have done that.  we’ve all been instructed to pack our “trendy” clothes.  so we can blend in i guess.  maybe i’ve had to go shopping for a few things.  and i’m still not convinced i’m new york ready.

. celebrate the birth of k.chad.  i’m gonna miss her birthday, so we’re going taking her out to celebrate.  sure to be a good time.  happy one, kel!

. charge iPod.  16 hours in a van.  ’nuff said.

. pay rent.  and bills.

well, i’m new york city bound.  should be a good time.  er, i mean.  an educational and very professional time.  for jesus.  on a church floor.  in trendy clothes.  oh gosh.

clipboards. and being excited.

when i traipsed myself down to georgia in august i came with the intention of staying for six months.  i had no idea where to go or what to do when i came home from the field and the Lord led me here to be in community and serve aim and the world race for a season. soon after getting acquainted with gainesville i felt the lord asking me to plant roots here. to find some contentment with being here.  and it was a struggle.  i battled and fought for that contentment.  i chose it on days when it was really the last thing i wanted to do.  and there are days when i still actively have to choose contentment about being in america.

but the more i do it the easier it gets.  and the more i choose thankfulness the more it really does rise up in me.  today, i’m beyond grateful for where i’m at, and what i’m doing.

so, when i agreed to come for a 6-month apprenticeship i  was asked to come on as a part of the marketing team.  which was funny to me because with the exception of my college degree i have zero experience in marketing anything.

but for the last six months i’ve been learning a lot.  and developing some skills.  and learning a lot.  and well, learning a lot.  the more i learn the more i realize how little i actually know.  which is humbling.  but more than that it’s exciting.  it’s a privilege and a blessing to be surrounded by people who are willing to invest in me in so many ways, including professionally.

i’ve spent the last few months working closely with our college-age department.  real life.  it’s been an absolute joy to be awakened to some of my talents and skills and also to rekindle some of the creative passions i’d stifled for so long.  but, that’s another blog for another time.

anyways…all of that really long story to say.  i’m staying in gainesville.  i’m staying with aim.  i’m staying with real life. and i’m continuing to do marketing.oh,

but, i am actually beside myself excited about it.

and also i’ll still be living off of support.  so you can help a sista’ out here.

i’m excited about all of the new changes.  i’m excited about learning more.  i’m excited about being developed.  i’m excited about being challenged.  i’m excited that i get to do something i am passionate about.  i’m excited that it will probably be hard.  but that i’ll grow because of it.  i’m excited about being in one place for awhile.  about learning how to be committed to something.

[it maybe freaks me out a little bit that i just wrote that.  and that i mean it.  because i don’t really know who this new, contented, happy person is.  but i like her.]

and, well.  i’m also excited that i get a new desk.  and a new space.

i know it seems small.  but i am such a person who needs her own space.   i need my space to feel like home.  and i need it to feel like me.

so i made some new things for my new space tonight.  and i love them.  i cannot wait to get them up on my wall above my desk tomorrow.

don’t you just think they are perfect?